Programs: BA Bronze; Marriott Silver; Hertz 5*, Hilton Honors
Am I Being Unreasonable?
Below is my email complaint to BA and their response. The question is am I being unreasonable in expecting some sort of compensation? If you don't agree then please let me know (kindly ). If you do agree then what is the best way of escalating this? It is my first and only complaint made to BA (being an exec member for 15+ years).
Re Booking Ref XXXXXX LGW to CTA on 6th November in Club Europe
1. Two weeks prior to the flight I looked at Manage My Booking and realised the flight was now due to land in Palermo instead of Catania. Due to the lack of suitable public transport I rented a car on a one way hire (cost £131 plus fuel). I rang up the call centre on 29th October and emailed BA on 1st November to ask for compensation (Incident: xxx) but was refused as it was “a change of terminal”. Palermo to Catania is 150 miles! At no point was a free shuttle bus mentioned either in response to the email or on the phone call until I received a text and email about 11 hours before the flight. At this point cancelling the car hire was not possible without loosing all the £131. I believe this change has been handled very badly by BA and it is not unreasonable I should be compensated. We realise BA may want to protect revenue and not pay out cash so in this light I would suggest a couple of alternatives. Our next booking is xxxx. An upgrade from WTP to Club for us on the xxx->xxx segment. Alternatively arranging lounge access at LHR during the transit (we fly FCO->LHR->LAS on xx) plus some avios points.
2. I would request that your system is changed as I have had several incidents where major changes to flights have occurred and I have not been informed until I check Manage My Booking. I mentioned this on the email sent 1st November (Incident: xxx) and was informed “If you give us or our authorised agents contact information, we or they will try to let you know about any changes.”. These flights were all booked on ba.com and you have my email and mobile phone number. It would be very helpful if BA informed customers of changes to flights instead of expecting customers to constantly keep checking the booking online.
3. No avios points for the flight have been awarded. Please can you ensure the 40 tier points and 2144 avios points are added to myself and my wifes account
Mr and Mrs WanderingYoyo
Dear Mr and Mrs WanderingYoyo
Thank you for your email dated 12 November 2012. I am sorry your destination city was changed to Catania and that you were unaware about this change. I can understand how much of an inconvenience this must have been for both of you and I do apologise.
I would like to assure you that we do listen and take account of what our customers tell us. I have now recorded the details of your complaint. A group of senior managers from across the business look at the problems our customers face, and how we can improve. We want to iron out the difficulties, and our chief executive expects us to make continuous improvements across all areas of our business for our customers.
For the specific concerns you have raised with us about your Avios points, I would be grateful if you will speak to our membership team. Please phone them on 0844 493 0 747 and they'll be happy to give you individual assistance.
While I appreciate your reasons for asking, I'm afraid that I am unable to reimburse you for your additional transport expenses. I am also unable to offer you an upgrade and an access to our lounge. I am sorry to disappoint you.
We know we operate in a very competitive market and genuinely value the confidence and trust you place in us when you choose to travel with British Airways. I do hope that we can welcome both of you on board again soon.
Programs: BA Gold, A3 *Gold, BMI Gold, HHonors Silver, Priority Club Plat
The problem here is that you booked the car without BA saying that was the right thing to do - you discovered the problem early but most would have presumably found out when BA sent the email/text explaining the move and giving details of the shuttle bus. If BA had told you to book the car they would be liable but you booked it off your own back without knowing what the airline was going to do for you.
I do think BA should throw a few Avios your way in compensation but they were probably angered by your direct suggestions of compensation. Its generally better to not to start demanding things but to wait and see what they offer first.
Totally reasonable complaint and very sensible suggestion of solutions.
My experience of getting comp out of airlines in general is that they almost always bat you back with one or two standard rejections, then either you have to have senior status and then they buy you off with miles, or you have to be prepared to move calmly to formal complaints such as putting in a small claim, at which point they usually buy you off with flight vouchers.
As above, you should have contacted BA before booking alternate transport yourself.
And asking for an upgrade on your next flight or lounge access is almost certainly never going to happen. Suggesting these alternate options makes it look like you aren't that concerned about your out of pocket expenses and just looking to get something extra rather than resolving your complaint. Did you have travel insurance? It may cover it.
You should have contacted BA before you made the car rental booking to give them a chance to remedy the situation in a more economical way.
Your upgrade suggestion comes across as rather presumptuous, and would prompt a defensive reply. Even if they were willing to give you some Avios, I doubt it would equate to the 25,000 miles to upgrade the two of you.
If two weeks out the flight destination was changed, there was ample time to contact BA if there was any uncertainty about the situation, and getting agreement for any costs. I'm not sure that spending the money yourself and then calling to ask for them to pay for it is the right way around.
Having said that though a change from Cantina to Palermo is clearly not a change of terminal, in fact I don't think there is even a generic code like there is for LON (covering a range of London airports) which could have meant that they could argue they got you to the destination, just not the airport at the destination you wanted. I would say that is worth chasing - but you may have to accept that having 'spent' before you 'asked' will lead to that getting nowhere. BA have always been very good to me where I have explained an issue and asked in advance, rather than the other way around. Two weeks out there was clearly plenty of time for this discussion to happen,
I'm not sure that suggesting alternatives to out of pocket expenses (which I think is what you wanted) is the right way to go, in my experience the best way to complain is to clearly state the issue, and clearly state what is required to deal with the issue.
Either you are asking for your out of pocket expenses, or you are seeking compensation - I would stick to one or the other. In this respect the email could be confusing (is the customer wanting me to compensate them in some way for the inconvenience, or are they being very reasonable and simply stating 'your actions caused me to be out of pocket by £x, please cover that cost). Note that any company will view the word 'compensation' very differently to 'cover out of pocket expenses.
I would write back stating that (whilst you appreciate the kisses at the bottom of the email) - you again request the cost of your transfer between the airports is met stating that you can provide documentation to show when this was booked etc (in fact I'd include it with the letter) and refer to it as out of pocket expenses rather than 'compensation'....
Adding in the 'upgrade' request did make it feel a little like "what can I gain from this" as opposed to "can you refund my out of pocket money" as clearly giving you a potentially revenue earning upgrade from WTP to CW (and they won't know if they have sacrificed the revenue until the flight takes off, they could be turning someone away at the door) - suddenly turns request for £130 out of pocket expenses, into someone wanting compensation to the value of perhaps £1500 ?
It's clearly been very badly handled, and reading BA's 'automated' response email is cringeworthy - I really don't know why BA does this to such a degree that they manage to come across so un-interested in your plight.
Good luck with going back to them, and I hope my thoughts above are of some use
I think you jumped the gun by hiring the car before seeking a clarification from BA about the change in airport. The initial response about a different terminal is obviously nonsense. But it seems to me that you did not allow BA the opportunity to remedy the situation. On this basis, I see no reason why you should be reimbursed.
While I sympathise with your complaint, since you booked the car without consulting BA to find out how they proposed to transport passengers from Palermo to Catania, I think you will have to meet the cost of car hire yourself. It would be unreasonable to expect BA or any other airline to reimburse you for what is basically an unauthorised expense. I am sure you would not expect your workplace to reimburse you for expenses that they have not authorised.
I also do not agree that a long haul upgrade for two would be warranted for £113 of expenses for which you did not obtain a prior authorisation despite there being a plenty of time to do so.
Additionally, it would have been a "contribution" or "reimbursement" that you were seeking for the car hire expenses, rather than a "compensation". It is often worth distinguishing between them in order to make your request clear.
To be honest, I suspect BA may have been a little more receptive to making a contribution towards your car hire expenses if you had not requested unreasonable things like upgrade for two or lounge access.
Last edited by LTN Phobia; Nov 20, 12 at 6:25 am..
Programs: BA Silver, Priority Club, Europcar Privilege Club
The change to a quite different airport is obviously more than a terminal change and BA ought to show some understanding. However, I think you haven't exactly handled all of this well from your side either.
It's not really the right way round, IMHO, to go ahead and make an expense, then turn around and claim it back. I think the correct way would have been to specifically request beforehand that BA contributed to your car hire. That would probably have surfaced the shuttle service.
Where I think you are entirely unreasonable is where you say this:
Originally Posted by WanderingYoyo
Our next booking is xxxx. An upgrade from WTP to Club for us on the xxx->xxx segment. Alternatively arranging lounge access at LHR during the transit (we fly FCO->LHR->LAS on xx) plus some avios points.
This, frankly, reads all wrong in my opinion, and feels disproportionate. As others have said, surely the best way to address this issue is simply stating the facts of the car hire and just letting them make a commercial gesture. The way you've written your complaint, I feel you're coming across as a bit greedy and pushing them into a more robust stance.
In light of the fact that you could have handled the car booking issue a bit better, I'd be prepared to settle for a compromise rather than the full amount.